Peripety

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Survival / Evolution /
2005 03 16 via IonaArc

Peripeteia: A sudden change of events or reversal of circumstances, especially in a literary work.

George Bernard Shaw wrote of social lurching: I add that such lurching may be cybernetic.

The brain grows in the womb. The mind emerges and takes its settings by living: infancy, childhood … Minds may occasionally take new settings, though resetting after a certain fairly early age is rare. The same applies to societies. And what applies to societies also applies to states, to cultures, to civilizations.

Minds, societies, civilizations may also correct course occasionally: cybernetically, the way we correct our constant imbalance while walking. The more members in the group-mind, the more (mental-) energy it will take for momentums to shift. The individual staggers between loyalty and lust. Decades, centuries, millennia later the culture recapitulates the same stagger. This is true for you, for me, for our gods.

Meanwhile, minds find anodynes for how stressful it all is. Hss shows evidence of substance abuse going back dozens of thousands of years: despite time being an area where evidence decays. Sometimes we can’t stand it, go blotto, and instead of staggering, fall down.

Such phenomena have multiple, complex causes. Stress is running out of room in which to exercise options. It’s too much, we toke. It’s too much, we commit to the side of the stagger that already has us toppling. I know! We’re so lustful, let’s pretend we’re not! Let’s make everybody get married, let’s forbid abortion! Also, Jared Diamond suggests, we’re just showing off: Look what an ass I can make of myself and some poor slut will still think I’m sexy! Also, nature may have assured that any individual with too much piss and vinegar, any group, will fall down and not get up.

Having lurched with Confucius for a big population, the Chinese finally lurch to curb that population. The Church sticks to its guns, sees the sidewalk coming, and lurches toward the Pagans.

pk’s mind took one firm set in the post-WWII Gernsbach recidivism: everything would be wonderful. Everyone would have his own helicopter, his own backpack jet. Nothing could be too high tech for pk. The bulk of us USians stuck to that gun even as we saw the oil crisis, the energy-sink.

Diamond’s Collapse talks of the sunk-cost effect. (I’ll do a separate piece on that soon, possibly next.) Once you’ve bet the farm on a losing horse, the easiest path may be to pretend that the horse is winning. (Diamond has a simply wonderful section analyzing psychological props for bad decisions.) Call for a recount. Vilify the judges. Support the Pretender.

But right now I just want to talk about high-tech. Once things couldn’t be high-tech enough for pk. Till I caught Ivan Illich going the other way. Illich hated computers. Yet it was Illich who invented computer-based learning webs. pk caught onto Illich until we jerked each other going opposite ways. I wanted the computer-based learning webs to data-base everything (non-coercively: everything public, everything volunteered).

Thus Illich was lurching a kind of Catholic puritanism. pk was lurching a cybernetic panacea. The public was committed to its lurch of Let’s apotheosize selfishness! (And the state had a high-spiraling high-tech internet up its sleeve!) (Grassroots have no chance against the state.)

Since the mid-1970s pk has undergone another mental peripety. (Boy! How many is that for pk? More than two? That’s way more than average!) pk wants lo-tech. Even literacy was a mistake. Even building roads was a mistake. pk can’t stand that part of Hss which is anything more complex than other animals. (Though I also revel in it! See Macroinformation. See anything pk.)

Jay Hanson and his Die-Off want to avert the die-off, want to survive it. I want to bring it on: and not survive it. I want to lop the redundant sapiens off of Homo sapiens sapiens (or retitle us Homo sapiens moronsis).

1960s to 1970s lots of ahem conservatives wanted to bomb Vietnam back into the stone age. Jared Diamond’s Collapse also has a stone age reference: as in a stone age humanity might be sustainable.

No, no. That’s not conservative enough! Stone age is still much too high-tech. The Late Pleistocene Over-Kill came in the stone age.

Let’s try a wood age: and hope that’s enough: conservative enough: radical enough.

We might not be in it. But don’t sell life short. Who knows what would evolve?

Evolution

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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